We would like to thank the following individuals, families, and organizations for their generous donations:


A grant from the Otto Bremer Trust funded furniture for the second-floor seating areas and new meeting room chairs, replacing furniture which was original to the building and dates back to the mid-1970s.  In addition to an updated look, the furniture will allow for more dynamic seating options and provide better access for charging laptops and other devices.  Based in St. Paul, Minn., the Otto Bremer Trust assists people in achieving full economic, civic and social participation in and for the betterment of their communities.

The library was selected as a recipient of a $75,000 grant from the State Energy Program – Planning and Implementing Clean Energy Investments in Wisconsin Communities. The grant funds were used to upgrade library interior and exterior lighting by retrofitting outdated fixtures with energy-efficient and longer-life LED lamps.  In addition to the energy and cost savings, the new fixtures will improve lighting for searching the collection, attending programs, working on a computer or reading in the library.

B.A. Mason Trust

The B.A. Mason Trust provided grant funding to the library in 2015 to purchase several MaKey MaKeys kits for teen technology programming. The kits turn everyday objects into touchpads, creating a variety of 21st-century artistic, engineering, and design opportunities for teens to explore. In 2016, the trust again provided funds allowing the library to purchase 3Doodler Pens and Sphero robotic balls. 3Doodler Pens enable users to create 3D objects without having to learn how to code. A Sphero is an app-enabled robotic ball that inspires young minds in the STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

Mayo Clinic Health System

The library received a grant from the Mayo Clinic Health System to help launch the Eau Claire Grows Community Seed Library.  The seed library allows residents to “borrow” seeds for free! The basic idea is to plant the seeds, let some of the plants go to seed, and then return a portion of the next generation seeds for others to borrow for the next growing season.

Endowments, Trusts, and Estates

Recent Estate Donations: Mildred Gerland Susan Monroe Sol Remer Sharon Zenner

One of the projects recently completed using gifted funds was a renovation to provide additional seating areas on the first floor.  Along with comfortable seating, new lighting and tables, and additional electrical outlets and USB ports, acoustic panels featuring historical Eau Claire photographs add to the beautiful views overlooking the Eau Claire River.

Renovation for each of the three seating areas was funded separately by generous donations from:

  • The Cora Rust Owen Trust, named for the daughter of Eau Claire lumber baron, John Owen.
  • The Estate of Mildred J. Gerland, a former U.W. system educator and library volunteer.
  • The Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library

The Cora Rust Owen Trust also recently funded a major renovation to the Information & Reference service desk. The new desk is an inviting oval shape, and is handcrafted from solid wood. It is smaller in scale and allows staff to serve customers more efficiently. The overall footprint was reduced by 40%, allowing the library to repurpose the space for the benefit of library customers.

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The Friends of the Library

Friends of the Library Volunteer sorting books for the Books for Babies program.

The Friends of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Public Library is a nonprofit group that supports the library financially through membership dues and fund-raising projects.

Since the library started keeping records in 1993, the Friends have donated nearly $365,000 to the library which includes almost $79,000 in combined giving to the library renovation and the Library Endowment Fund.  Recently, the Friends group gifted almost $18,000 to create a new adult quiet reading area, $5,000 to replace the furnishings in the young adult lounge, $7,000 for a scanner for public use, and $10,000 for the preservation of classic films.  This does not include the assistance of the Friends’ Coordinator who is paid by the Friends and arranges all the volunteer hours generated for the benefit of the library—over 5,200 hours in 2014 alone–and much more.  The support of all of the Friends members and volunteers is invaluable.